Kristine Chester, Fanboy Comics Contributor: Devin, thank you for taking the time to speak with Fanboy Comics today. You've spent time as a DC Comics intern and have been published in America's Got Stories. What inspired you to become a writer and specifically to start writing comics?
Devin Leigh Michaels: My mom’s an English teacher, so she had a big influence. The comic writing aspect came from watching Batman:TAS and X-Men in the '90s. I actually picked up my first comic book at Sam Goody’s, and it was The Adventures of Batman and Robin #1. Nightwing’s solo series was launched shortly thereafter, and I dove into the DCU. The love of the characters eventually grew to a want to write.
KC: You currently have a Kickstarter for your new comic series, Destiny's Fate. For our readers who aren't already familiar, what is Destiny's Fate?
DLM: Destiny’s Fate is a seven-issue miniseries that explores the struggle between destiny (an achieved future) and fate (a predestined future). It follows fifteen-year-old Kainoa Ryder, a time-traveling assassin. Stolen by his grandfather—the former head of the Defenders—and raised in Medieval Japan, Kainoa has harnessed the gift of destiny, the ability to travel through time. Where others need the help of a device called an Anchron to change time periods, Kainoa only needs a single thought, and where the Defenders simply protect time, he can rule it. He has one mission-to infiltrate, to assimilate, and to annihilate the Defenders, his own family. This is his fate, one even he, the bearer of destiny, cannot escape.
KC: What are some of the influences behind Destiny's Fate?
DLM: I always loved the concept of time travel, and I wanted to write something that explored the differences between destiny and fate. I must have been doing research, and I remember reading the paradox conjecture where there’s a force that stops someone from going back in time and killing their grandparents because then he/she wouldn’t exist. I thought, what if that force is a group of people? And, that’s when the Defenders were born.
KC: The art of Destiny's Fate is incredible, with a great animated style and rich colors. How did you meet your incredible artistic team of Mauricio Vargas, Rodrigo Tobias, and Taylor Esposito?
DLM: I met Mau on Tumblr. I was flipping through one day, and someone had posted a picture of Superboy he’d done. I was writing False Dawn, which was just a bunch of comic scripts on my website. I wanted covers for the scripts, so Mau and I started working together. When I wanted to do a comic, he was the only person I considered. Mau and I were talking about the project on Twitter when Taylor offered to letter for us, and Rodrigo has worked with Mau for eight years. So, we brought him onto the project as our colorist.
KC: With time travel being a key element to Destiny's Fate, what times/locations can readers expect Nile and the cast to visit in coming issues?
DLM: Well, readers will see Medieval Japan since Kainoa was raised there. A majority of the book takes place in present-time New Jersey. The crew also travels to Ancient Rome, the American Civil War, Versailles in the 14th Century, the Titanic sinking, and a splash here and there of other places.
KC: What advice would you give to our readers who are interested in independently creating their own comics or graphic novels? What about those looking to fund a project through Kickstarter?
DLM: If you’re a writer, budget. I can’t say enough about that. A writer will have pay at least three people to produce the book, and there will be absolutely no money to help fund at the beginning. A good buffer of money for at least the first book is needed. Also, contracts are important. Specify what is important upfront before work even begins.
If one is looking to start a Kickstarter project, the best thing one can do is back some. Even just giving a buck really shows appreciation for someone’s work, and he/she will most likely remember and help your kickstarter. Sometimes, they retweet. Sometimes, they spread word of month, but, really, the best way to get support is to give support.
KC: Besides Destiny's Fate, you also work with IC Geeks Publishing and have been published elsewhere. Are you working on any other projects or do you have anything lined up when Destiny's Fate completes its seven-issue run?
DLM: I just had a novelette accepted for publication with Torquere Press. I also have a YA novel in the works, and I also might be editing a project later this year. It’s too soon to tell, but I am excited about that potential project.
KC: This being Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your own favorite comics, movies, or games?
DLM: My favorite comics have always been the Batbooks. Prior to funding my own comic, I used to collect a fourth of DC’s monthly output, and I had collected most, if not all, of the Batbooks since Cataclysm. My favorite series was the short-lived Red Robin. Chris Yost, Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To, and Ray McCarthy just took Tim Drake on an amazing ride, and I hated to see that series end, especially since Mr. Nicieza and Mr. Yost had written so many subplots I wanted to see come to fruition.
I also adored Booster Gold and the Time Masters series, and I enjoyed the relationship between Rip and Booster. I’m also a huge fan of the Winter Soldier, and every so often I get a burst of excitement for the upcoming movie.
Still, the DCoU was my playground, and I thoroughly enjoyed the stories written there. I do like some aspects of the new universe, but I can’t connect to it as well as the old universe. I was one of those people who said, “Superboy punched a wall, and that’s why this happened!”
KC: Lastly, what would you like to tell Fanboy Comics' readers who would like to learn more about you and your upcoming projects?
DLM: I’m passionate about stories and characters, and I hope my projects reflect that. I also have one of the greatest teams out there working on them. Mau Vargas, Rodrigo Tobias, and Taylor Esposito are true professionals in the business, and one way or another, you’ll be seeing their names again. And, with any luck, you’ll see mine.
OH! And, Taylor and I will be hanging out at New Paradigm Studio Booth 2247 at NYCC. Come by and say hi!
To learn more about Destiny's Fate, please visit Devin's Kickstarter campaign.